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Welsh Place names

Sign in Llanfair PG railway station
Sign in Llanfair PG railway station

If you look at a map of Wales, you'll see a lot of similar place names. For example, Aber appears at the beginning of many of place names. There's Abertawe (Swansea), Abermawr, Aberfan, Aberystwyth...
We've listed some other common prefixes below along with their meanings to help you understand the story behind them:

Aber: the mouth or confluence of a river or small stream. It is usually followed by the name of the river eg. Aberystwyth: mouth of the river Ystwyth

Betws: a house of prayer. Usually followed by the location of the prayer house or its founder’s name. eg. Betws-y-Coed: prayer house in the woods

Blaen: the source of a river, or the head of a valley. eg. Blaenau Ffestiniog: heads of the valleys in the land of Ffestiniog

Llan: a church or parish. Usually followed by the name of the saint to whom the church is dedicated. eg. Llandudno: Church of St Tudno
 

Bach/fach small
Bryn a hill
Bryncastell castle hill
Bwlch a mountain pass
Capel a chapel
Capel Dewi chapel of David, the Patron Saint of Wales
Castell castle
Castell Coch red castle
Caer/Gaer a fort
Coed a wood
Ffynnon a well or spring
Ffynnon Taf Taff’s well
Glan a river bank or shore
Glyn a glen
Hafod a summer dwelling or a summer pasture
Llanddewi Church of St David
Llyn a lake or pool
Mynydd a mountain
Nant a stream
Pen top or end
Pentre a village
Pont a bridge
Tre a homestead or town
a house

One of our best known place names also claims to be the world's longest place name:
Llanfairpwllgwingyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllandysiliogogogoch

Phonetically: Llan-vire-pooll-guin-gill-go-ger-u-queern-drob-ooll-llandus-ilio-gogo-goch

It translates as;
The Church of St Mary in the hollow of the white hazel near the rapid whirlpool and the church of St Tysilio near a red cave. 

Learn some Welsh phrases
Take a look at our alphabet.
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